Connecticut and federal laws require employers to provide their employees with a safe workplace. Workers should tell their employers about any safety hazards they find on the job, but when the employer refuses to correct the problem, workers can file a complaint with Connecticut’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CONN-OSHA) or the U.S. OSHA.

After a recent complaint, OSHA inspectors visited a Connecticut brake manufacturing plant and found numerous safety hazards. Ultimately, OSHA cited the plant for 17 alleged serious violations of safety standards and imposed a fine of $55,505.

Many of the alleged violations involved mechanical power presses. Inspectors said that the presses lacked safeguards to prevent workers from turning the presses on accidentally, which left employees vulnerable to potentially fatal crushing or amputation injuries. Other hazards included conditions that could lead to electrocution or exposure to hazardous materials, and inspectors said the employer gave workers inadequate training or protective equipment. OSHA gave the brake plant 15 days to comply with safety standards, meet with OSHA officials or contest the citations.

Various laws protect workers from retaliation on the job after they report a safety violation, but OSHA and CONN-OSHA also provide ways for employees to report safety hazards anonymously. When employees see a safety hazard that is placing the lives of workers in imminent danger, they should report the dangerous condition to the authorities. In some cases, they may even refuse to work until the safety hazard is addressed.

Connecticut workers who are hurt on the job typically are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. OSHA inspections are intended to stop these injuries before they happen, but a record of workplace safety violations at the employer may also affect an employee’s rights after an accident.

Source: OSHA.gov, “US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Nucap US Inc. for 17 serious safety violations at Watertown, Conn. manufacturing plant,” June 13, 2013